Anime Bravo Foxtrot: Why UN Squadron is Essential

A popular theme in many manga (mangi?) and anime flicks is the retconning of World World II. Games, manga and anime such as Valkyria Chronicles, Operation Darkness, and Pumpkin Scissors all take the setting, esthetic and look of 1940’s Europe and each add their own twist, whether that be mechs, steampunk technology, or field medics in fetish outfits.

Pictured: War

A casual glance at the cart for UN Squadron elicits virtually no excitement at all. It appears to be a run-of-the- mill, throw away cart- a game that seems to belong along beside Bill Elliot Nascar and Bulls Vs. Lakers in a thrift store bargain bin.

Save for one, very important part of the label… the little red rectangle that says “Capcom”. Capcom, fresh off dominating the third party library of the Nintendo Entertainment System, began it’s reign of 16 bit effulgence primarily with arcade ports, such as Final Fight and UN Squadron.

However, where as the SNES port of Final Fight is ultimately remembered as a famously co-op free misstep, UN Squadron is barely remembered at all.

Beneath the generic label and uninspired name, lies what Super Famicom players knew as Area88; a challenging, colorful 16-bit actioner that separates itself from the formulaic design of the standard spaceship shmup in a couple of ingenious ways. Having more in common with Gradius than After Burner, UN Squadron strayed further from both by adding non linear stages, upgradable and selectable weapons and aircrafts, and a most revolutionary of all, a health bar.

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2 thoughts on “Anime Bravo Foxtrot: Why UN Squadron is Essential

  1. Myself and a friend of mine have been playing this game a lot recently. We make it to the final stage, and then it’s game over. This was one of the first SNES games we had in my household, so I like it for sentimental reasons as well. I found it last summer for $6, and didn’t hesitate to pick it up. I know there are some variations from this port to the arcade, and would like to actually play the arcade machine. Do you know if they made a port of the sequel? Or was that arcade only?

  2. i am pretty sure the sequel was arcade only. I would love to see an anime styled sequel or update for the wii or 3ds… one can dream.

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